Response Awaited in Largo From Woods on Election Debate
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO - Word was awaited yesterday as to whether Commissioner Rodney Woods will participate in a debate with Curtis Holmes, who is challenging him in November's election.
Holmes announced during the City Commission meeting Tuesday night that a debate sponsored by the Clearwater Gazette with a Greater Largo Chamber of Commerce official as moderator is in the offing.
Holmes accepted the invitation for the debate Tuesday night and an invitation was also extended to Woods.
If a debate is held, it would be broadcast on the city's television station.
Mac Craig, Largo's city manager, must give permission for that to happen.
Both Craig and Woods have been queried on their respective roles about the pending debate and no answers had been received as the Gazette went to press.
A debate of sorts has already happened with each of the candidates giving televised statements on the city's web site. The recorded statements are not face to face but, in the case of each, face to camera prepared statements.
While Holmes's statement crisply presents a list of issues and where he stands on them, Woods's performance is a meandering recitation of his gratitude for serving, "vowing" not to vote for "another millage increase" (he just voted for one a couple of weeks ago), pledging to see that city services are kept at a high level.
Holmes, on the other hand, went down a list of issues that are in the minds of those who closely follow city affairs.
He cited the lapse of the current commission in taking command in the city, with the administration being the tail that wags the dog.
The Bonner Park flap was a good example of how the commission had lost control of what was happening, he said, and went on to assert that his opponent failed to participate in key discussions on the West Bay planning and budget talks.
During his presentation, Woods had an amusing way of rolling his eyes to his right, as though some off-camera threat was creeping toward him.
He also had an innovative way of using the language, describing, at one point, how "Largo have approved plans for a vision of the future."
Most startling was Woods's vow, apparently seriously meant, to "not support another millage increase." Ironically, he voted just weeks ago to increase the millage for the fiscal year 2010 that began October 1.
While he criticized some city spending, Woods did not oppose the outlays, but just said he would spend the money in a different way.
As background to the contest between the candidates, a real howler is the issue of the Clock Tower, at the intersection of Bay Drive and Missouri Avenue/Seminole Boulevard.
Holmes was on record as long ago as two years against demolishing the site while Woods was in favor. Then, when Holmes, along the way many months ago predicted that it would be an election issue, Woods changed his position and now is against tearing down the city's symbol.
In the most mysterious of all his statements, Woods declared his intention to continue "reconciling the community under the auspices of the Constitution of the United States of America."
High blown rhetoric certainly, but with as much substance as the city manager's vow to find out who posted the "closing" signs at Bonner Park - that was an effort that disappeared with the morning mist.
Return to Current Edition